Prof Wei Duan



Alfred Deakin Professor


Faculty of Health


School of Medicine


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

+61 3 522 71149

Research interests

Professor Duan's research focuses on developing nucleic acid aptamer technology platforms for cancer biotechnology, focusing on cancer stem cell-targeted drug, siRNA and miRNA delivery using nanoparticles as well as aptamer-based molecular imaging for early detection of cancer and accurate staging. He heads a cross-disciplinary and translational research team consisting of cancer biologists, oncologists, molecular and cell biologists, material scientists, organic chemists, drug developers, pharmaceutical scientists and mechanical and electronic engineers across several faculties, research centres and teaching hospitals in Deakin. He is also involved in developing novel aptamer-based and microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices for the application in biodefense, forensic medicine and rapid diagnostics at the point of care. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed original research papers and review articles in international refereed journals, with an h-index of 30 (average citation per article of 25).  Professor Duan has filed 5 international patents on cancer stem related aptamers.  He serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the journal “Drug Design, Development and Therapy” (

Professors Duan has been frequently invited to address international conferences on biomedical research, drug development and molecular medicine.

6. Wei Duan, “Aptamer therapeutics: the 21st century’s magic bullet of nanomedicine”, Second International Conference on Drug Discovery and Therapy'. Feb 1-4, 2010. Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

8. Wei Duan,  RNA Aptamer: The Next Generation of Cancer Stem Cell-targeted Molecular Imaging,  BIT’s 9th Annual Congress of International Drug Discovery Science and Technology, Nov 3-6, 2011, Shenzhen, China;

10. Wei Duan, RNA aptamer-guided nanodrug delivery for the 21st century cancer medicine, 6th Annual Meeting of the Australian chapter of the Controlled Release Society, Melbourne, Nov 26-27, 2012.

11. Wei Duan, “Aptamer-guided nano drug delivery systems for cancer therapy”, Nano- and Microparticle-based drug and vaccine delivery, The 6th Joint Australia-New Zealand chapters of the Controlled Release Society, Brisbane, July 4-5, 2013.

12. W. Duan, “The use of RNA aptamers for diagnosis: detecting low levels of EpCAM in paraffin embedded tissues“, Aptamer in Medicine and Perspectives, Oct 4-5, 2013, Naples, Italy.

13. D.Xiang. S. Shigdar, W. Duan, “Targeting cancer stem cells in vivo using RNA aptamers“, 16th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine/The 18th World Congress on Advances in Oncology, 10-12, October, 2013, Hotel Creta Maris Resort, Greece.

15. T Wang, S Shigdar, Wei Duan, “An aptamer-based siRNA in vivo delivery system targeting cancer stem cells, 5th FIP Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress, Melbourne, Australia, April 13-16, 2014.

16. Shigdar S, Xiang D, Duan W. Aptamers as effective cancer stem cell targeting modalities. Aptamers- 2014, 24-25th March 2014, Oxford, UK. Aug 25-27, 2015.

17. Wei Duan, “Cancer stem cells targeted delivery of siRNA in vivo: translating Nobel Prize-winning technology to clinic”, 8th Dubai International Conference for Medical Sciences, Ded15-17, 2014, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

18. Wei Duan, “Cancer stem cell targeted delivery of siRNA to overcome induced chemoresistance”, European Pharma Congress, Aug 25-27, 2015, Valencia, Spain.

19. Wei Duan, “RNA aptamer-guided in vivo RNAi to overcome chemoresistance”, Health forum of the Silk Road-Int Summit Forum of Research and Development on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ethnic Medicine, Oct 17-18, 2015, Kunlun Hotel, Urumuqi, Xingjiang, P.R. China.

Knowledge areas

aptamer, chemical antibody, molecular cell bioogy, cancer stem cell, targeted drug delivery, nanomedicine, nanotechnology, novel cancer treatment and diagnostics


Invited addresses: 1. Wei Duan, A Novel Paradigm in Mammalian Cell Signaling, Signal TransductionTargets for effective therapeutics, Cambridge Healthtech Institute, Seaport Hotel, Boston, MA, USA, November 8-9, 2004. [My talk was reviewed in Rounding up the usual suspects: protein kinases as the therapeutic targets, S.B. Shears, Drug Discovery Today.10(4):240-242, 2005.] 2. Wei Duan, Signaling via a novel integral plasma membrane pool of protein kinase C, The Hunter Meeting of Cell Biology, Sydney, Australia, 6-8 April, 2005. 3. Wei Duan, Herbal Medicine In AustraliaTransforming Ancient Remedy With Nanotechnology, 59th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress, Varanasi-221 005, Uttar Pradesh, India, 20-23 December, 2007. 4. Wei Duan, Development of Molecular Medicine that Specifically Targets Protein Kinase C in Heart Failure, 10th South China International Congress of Cardiology, Dongfang Hotel, Guangzhou, China, 10-13, April, 2008. 5. Wei Duan, Targeted drug delivery using RNA aptamer and nanoparticlesthe miracle of nanomedicine for the 21st century. VII Thailand Research Fund (TRF) Annual Congress. October 16-18, 2008, Holiday Inn Resort Regent Beach, Cha-Am, Thailand. 6. Wei Duan, Aptamer therapeutics: the 21st centurys magic bullet of nanomedicine, Second International Conference on Drug Discovery and Therapy'. February 1-4, 2010. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 7. Wei Duan, Nucleic acid aptamer: the pearl in the crown of nanomedicine for molecular imaging of cancer, The 4th International Symposium on Bioanalysis, Biomedical Engineering and Nanotechnology (ISBBN 2010), Hunan University in Changsha, Hunan, China (June 3-6, 2010). 8. Wei Duan, RNA Aptamer: The Next Generation of Cancer Stem Cell-targeted Molecular Imaging, BITs 9th Annual Congress of International Drug Discovery Science and Technology --- Re-think Drug Innovations in Green-Eco Era (Session 7-1-2: Nucleic Acid Therapeutics), November 3-6, 2011, Shenzhen, China.

Media appearances

Being an Australian leader in developing aptamers against cancer stem cells,  Professor Duan is well recognised for his innovative and translational medical research.  For example, his work of developing RNA aptamer for cancer diagnosis and treatment was cited by Senator Kim Carr (Minister for Innovation), in his press release on 7 January 2011 as a fine example of the world-class research carried out by Australian leading researchers funded by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Australian Government.

In addition, Professor Duan’s work has enjoined wide coverage by both domestic and international media (for a TV interview:

Newspaper coverage of Professor Duan's research:
1) The Australian newspaper, March 19, 2011, Article by Reporter Alexander Gambotto-Burke.
2) The Age newspaper, Melbourne: July 5, 2010,  Article by Reporter Danny Rose. 

3) Australian Broadcast Corporation, National Australia Radio, March 11, 2011, Interview with Desley Blanch.
4)  Australian Broadcast Corporation, Melbourne Radio, February 17 (17:35), Prime time Interview with Lindy Burns.
5)  Victoria TV Channel 31: Special features at 18:30, 9 March 2011, Length: 7 min 42 sec.
6)  Geelong Advertiser: July 6, 2010, Article by Reporter Joel Cresswell.
7)  Geelong Independent: February 25, 2011, Article by Erin Pearson.